A string of burglaries at affluent Pennsylvania homes has led to the arrests of four men from Chile who are believed to be connected to “South American theft groups,” authorities said Saturday.
The four men were spotted around 6 p.m. Friday driving in the Meadowbrook section of Abington, where 12 affluent homes had been targeted since 2021, the Abington Township Police Department said.
Those burglaries were linked to similar crime sprees throughout the country that were carried out by South American theft groups, mostly from Chile and Colombia, that entered the U.S. to target high-end homes, according to police.
“This is a disturbing trend,” Abington Police Lt. Steve Fink told local ABC6.
The detective conducting surveillance Friday evening believed the vehicle was casing the neighborhood and pulled it over.
The four men inside “claimed to have driven to Pennsylvania from California to visit a friend and were looking for a restaurant,” the department said.
The detective found that some of the men possessed fraudulent identification cards while others had no identification.
Police detained the men and searched the vehicle, discovering a variety of burglary tools, including masks, gloves, flashlights, pry bars, a reciprocating saw, and a glass break tool. Photos and GPS directions to specific homes and locations in the Meadowbrook neighborhood were also found.
The men were identified as Alvaro Javier Ganin Ganin, 36, Jorge Fabrizeo Sepulveda Alvarez, 34, Vaster Miller Guajardo Pedrero, 31, and Nicolas Andres Matus Lucero, 29. Police said all four men are from Chile.
The suspects were all arrested and charged with attempted burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary, possessing instruments of crime, and loitering and prowling at nighttime.
They were being held at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility pending arraignment.